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Cita Stelzer Education. (2013) 'Dinner With Churchill Policy-Making at the Dinner Table.'

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Churchill 5, Europe 5, Britain 5, Roosevelt 4, London 4, U.s. 3, Washington 3, Obama 2, Truman 2, Tehran 2, Jennie Jerome 1, Jill 1, Anthony Eden 1, Smith 1, Martini 1, Kremlin 1, Moscow 1, Nick Peters 1, Madam Paul Rowe 1, Winston Churchill 1,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Cita Stelzer  Education.  (2013) 'Dinner With  
   Churchill Policy-Making at the Dinner Table.'  

    February 10, 2013
    5:30 - 6:15am EST  

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to adopt his position on various matters. it is about 40 minutes. >> good evening. thank you for coming. delighted to see you here to talk about my new book "dinner with churchill,". since my book is all about the importance of dinners and be assured i will not make you wait for your own there is. i will be brief and i want to wet your appetite so that you will buy my book.
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you want to -- let's try another sentence. i have lived with winston churchill for four years and it was wonderful even though that took place in the frigid archives at churchill college. i am also asked where i got the idea for another book on churchill to add to the thousands already written. i have read many books about this fascinating man and noticed many of his important accomplishments were achieved at dinners, sometimes at lunches. i began to wonder why that was so, most of the deal struck at the famous international conferences held during world war ii were made at or facilitated by dinners at which the leaders were more relaxed than on formal session. i began digging into the churchill archives. not only did i find menus for the more famous dinners with presidents roosevelt and truman and stalin but there birdie tales of churchill carefully
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setting the stage for dinners with his generals, political friends and foes meaning academics and a host of interesting people. his dinner is usually included 12 to 15 people and very often members of his own family. and staged these dinners is the right description as in churchill loved to perform at these affairs. he loved company, he loved the attention he got as he entertained and more important wooed his guests. at one dairy described with great exuberance the naval battle using wine glasses and decanters to show the position of the ships and blowing smoke from his cigar to imitate the cannon fire. it would have been wonderful to have been there. the topic at churchill's table were wide-ranging, and cold, exploding harbors, movies, that hamilton woman was a great favorite of churchill's, and
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politics. his curiosity was boundless. many of his guests wrote to friends or recorded in their diaries his conversations, repeated his anecdotes and commented on the foodie served. in addition i found hundreds of bills for dinner she gave at hundred hotels, the ritz, guest lists, amended wine lists, many letters from churchill complaining about overbilling, banking his friends for gifts of food and wine, ringing generous tips for hotel waiters call in the archives, all set out in my book. i have produced many of the menus in my book in case any of you want to try to duplicate one or two of them at a special party at home. the wine list might be harder for you to replicate since so many decades have passed since church hill placed his orders. i noted his musical choice should you be in the move to hire a band for your party, and i wrote about all this because
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they shed light on the character chill took to make these meals productive and sell his policies and show how his struggle to meet his requirements in such remote places as tehran, casablanca, i described his choice of an use of supplies to prolong the after dinner discussions. my research told me what he ate and what he drank and how he interacted with staff and the british people during the war. somehow my hero turned to reality. as human beings the definite reactions, very negative reactions to white house cooking and mixed cocktails served across the world, and -- arguments from his generals, and diet warnings and suggestions from his wife, these were largely ignored especially the one that involves eating only tomatoes. as i dug into the material that became clear to me that someone
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with churchill's great conversational skills and ability to create a congenial setting, there was an advantage over most meetings, could be as long as he liked and in the case of dinner they could run into the wee hours when churchill gathers strength and others tired. his daughter reports luncheon and dinner conversations often became so extended that mealtimes tended to prolong themselves far into the afternoon or evening with luncheon's lasting sometimes until half past 3. a typical evening at checkers which is the prime minister's country house would begin at 8:30 with champagne in the drawing room, dinner with last from 9:00 to 10:30, then cigar's after the ladies were excused. when the men rejoined the ladies 20 minutes or half an hour later a movie would be shown even in wartime until about midnight when churchill announced now to
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work. he would dictate until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and the next morning he would like it 7:00 start work again in bed, surrounded by staff and military personnel until lunch. the more i read the reports of these meals by those lucky enough to attend them the clearer it became to me that these were working meals, not social occasions although churchill hugely enjoyed them he did love company, church used those hours spent at the table to educate others about his policies to persuade them to go along and learn from his guests latest political and social adoption and again news from around the world. there was no 24-hour news cycle in those days so private reports of well played guests were often the best source of what was going on in the soviet union. these guests came from all walks of life although during the war they were mainly military and politicians, british and american and when churchill felt
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he could tolerate it he once in awhile had to dine with charles they gaulle. there was always a purpose to the dinners, to advance country's interests to explain, cajole, learn, exchange information. it was the conversation that mattered. the setting, the table and the food where the stage where he could best perform. here are two examples of dinners with important purposes, white house in december of 1941, more about this later, the second important dinner was august of 1942 when churchill after several long, grueling and dangerous flights to avoid german fighters in the air flew to moscow to meet stalin for the first time. churchill had to bring a message there would be no second front in 1942, allied front stalin could use to divert troops from the soviet from lines. churchill took u.s. ambassador harriman with him to show the
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allies were united in this important strategic decision. after a full day of meetings stalin invited churchill to the kremlin for a good buy dinner and what a dinner that was. as the two men and their interpreters serving themselves, no service in the kremlin, a full banquet, enough for 30 people, topped off with a pig's head. stalin opened his penknife, cleaned out the head, scraped out a piece of meat which he offered to churchill on the end of his knife. churchill polite refused, not able to show his discussed to his new allies but commenting later to his doctor that the food was filthy. that is a quote. no matter, church about what he wanted and stalin agreed to the strategy. let me spend a few minutes on what i mean when i say churchill at attention to detail was stunning. redesigned a table at his country home chart well, it was to be round, six feet in diameter, told his wife to order
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shares with arms to allow for relaxation, to ease the conversation and permit his guests to be comfortable for long periods of time. in a letter, he wrote, quote, one does not want dining room chair spreading itself for its arms as if it were a plant. shea in light vein, quote, digested his dissertation. he always planned exceeding to make sure the conversation slowed, there is an excerpt from a long memo on the proper design of dining room. if any of you have in mind redoing your own dining room let me know and i will get you a copy of his memo. in 1909 the newly wed churchill bought a house in london, his mother decorated and churchill at the dining room at the back of the house. they employed a coke, two made and about their. roy jenkins, a very good
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biographer set of churchill, quote, he was not good at bilateral conversation but with the table he could also be brilliant. if i could dine with stalin once a week there would be no trouble, churchill said. the british and commonwealth countries had been at war for over a year. when pearl harbor was attacked churchill knew that the u.s. would be at war and wanted to assure that america would not concentrate on fighting japan first instead of hitler in europe. churchill at once decided to travel to washington to meet with roosevelt and move into the white house for three weeks. was this the beginning of the special relationship? perhaps. now the british have a formidable ally. winter chill lived with roosevelt and white house sharing every meal but not breakfast they agreed among other things to establish a combined chief of staff. military staff from each of the
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services would work together with their counterparts, all policies and strategies shared between the two countries. it seems to me these dinners were immensely important. they set up the structure that would prosecute the war to a successful conclusion. it is agreed by almost everyone at the roosevelt white house that the cook, not chef in those days, was the worst cook in history. henry and and as much's menus included chipped beef on toast with mushrooms, boiled broccoli, bavarian cream pie, molded jell-o salads, shredded cheese with tomatos, out of fashion food today, badly prepared. and kept in the job. no wonder president roosevelt looked forward to his famous children's hour, the tiny mixed
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and serve his before dinner legal martinees. churchill was on his best behavior so he could not have complained about the food with a mixed cocktails although one source says the prime minister, martini glass into a nearby potted plant. another said that he spit out the olive. churchill's only comment on white house who became when the favored pig knuckles, he found they were slimy. british guests having lived with rationing at home 8 like mad in the white house. sometimes two meal that once according to mrs. nazareth. two eggs every morning in the u.s. the british got one a week under rationing. this is that smith turned chicken a la king two times a week to churchill's discuss the british gas loved as chicken was rationed in britain except for churchill, did not like his
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chicken messed about with. one quick word, she cooked with the churchill family in the 1930s and moved with her children to downing street and stayed with a family until 1953. when churchill was again prime minister. she was a superb and more important unflappable coke. she knew what church like and cooked it unlike mrs. nazareth. despite the bombing of london and ever-changing plans she took care of churchill and called that her, quote, work. churchill did not fall far from the tree. his mother, the charismatic jennie jerome born in brooklyn, new york had been a much admires society hostess in london. she was famous for inviting non-political many to dinner and
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ceding them to facilitate discussion. the left no cut with uncooked. churchill must learn from her early on how to manage dinner for his own purposes. in the book i described how he deployed to this attention to detail. at his birthday party dinner in tehran in 1943 he arranged the seating himself. he had his sappers construct a table that would accommodate the 28 guests he had chosen. he added staff to sit down to see how close together or far apart the guests would be. imagine a staff person setting her elbows like this watching churchill for his approval to make sure seeding was the way he wanted it. at this important dinner church hill would be meeting with president truman for the first time. churchill amended the menu to add another course. ham salad. no one knows what he had in mind
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when he added that course to the menu. a further thought. on interpreters. do they sit in between or slightly behind the participants. toucher jill decided to face the interpreter slightly behind, not at the dinner table. this arrangement once again facilitated the conversation. let me add a few words about what this rotund man liked to eat. the answer is churchill like plain simple food perfectly cooked. no french sauces, no fancy ties did his favorite meal was turtle soup, never cream, had to be, quote, with a bid. perhaps a smoked salmon, meat, roast chicken, game is in season or rear roast beef. was after all english. for desert what churchill called
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his pudding, ice cream and perhaps chocolates sauce and a field spare. another word on consomme with churchill loved. at the end of working day 2:00, prime minister churchill would say soup out loud, very loudly. staff heard it, that was the signal that the working day was over. the secretaries could leave and begin typing up the day's memos and he would have his consummate which he always ate before going to bed. churchill loved all games especially goose and raise geese on his farm. at one dinner as the roasted goose was made in front of him at the table he said, quote, you carve, this boosts was a friend of mine. in all my research into churchill's life i never found a
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mention of a vegetable. he made fun of vegetarians who he called nick peters. at a meeting equipped to strict not eaters, if you had finished pulling with your beat route we will get on with more important matters. another, all but not beaters i ever knew died early after long ever knew died early after long period of senile day. another favorite was irish stew with pineapple. this was a meal churchill served to generalize and our when they planned the invasion of europe and caviar. churchill loved caviar. he was thrilled when stalin cents caviar when it was sent to the gift from the soviet union. churchill 8 small portions, had
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his meal served on his, quote, tommy time, not on the clock. churchill loved picnics. whatever the place for the weather even in wartime there's a wonderful photo in my book showing churchill in a three piece suit in joining a picnic in sitting on a rock by the side of the road. he picnic with roosevelt in hyde park, a picnic on the banks of the rhine with his generals and in the north african desert with friends. he established his own picnic rich wills enthusiastically seeing old indian army posts and calling for verses that could only be recited at picnics. much has been said and written about churchill and alcohol, some of it true, most not, some exaggerated. i going to detail about churchill's drinking habits. churchill had been told -- roosevelt had been told churchill was a drunk, charged a
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few critics, churchill did consume more alcohol than we are used to it today but not a great deal by the standards of his contemporaries. drink did not affect him or his work. churchill drank a small amount of whiskey with soda, no eyes. staff call it mouthwash. at lunch and dinner he drank half a bottle of champagne and that is a different side than the half bottle we know. smaller than the half bottles we know as well as a brandy or two. let's talk about champagne, churchill's favorite drink. we are not sure when he first discovered champagne, he preferred that champagne to all the others. his favorite vintage was the 1928. on each of his birthdays, he got a case of the 1928 until the
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supplies ran out in 1953. win churchill died in 1965 he had only gone through the 1934 vintage. after his death madam paul rowe they ordered all bottles imported to britain would have a black mourning band script across the bottle. every important occasion throughout his life was marked with champagne. after dinner churchill drank brandy. he drank brandy, not pork. early in his like a doctor recommended brandy instead of pork. this is one of the few times he followed a doctor's orders. perhaps knowing porche would be bad for what he called his in the, all is patting his stomach when he said this, is in digestion, something he suffered from occasionally which is not surprising given the meals he had with the likes of stalin. by modern standards this is a large amount of alcohol but
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churchill was never incapacitated. i have read in many journals and diaries of people who dined with him and they agree alcohol enhanced his enjoyment and ability to talk. he asked what water in his glass tasted fine. hopkins said it was because there was no whiskey in it. he was not affected by alcohol and it never interfered with his work. could he have been prime minister during the war? prime minister of defense if incapacitated? i think not. only two people wrote that churchill was aware from alcohol, one was the soviet staff member reporting to stalin what he thought stalin wanted to hear. the second was a private secretary to anthony eden and would also like to report to his boss that churchill was drunk but churchill would never have been able to work as he did for so many years and so successfully if alcohol had
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taken hold of him. churchill very much enjoyed the legend of his drinking added to it by boasting of the amounts he consumed the. a sort of macho habits in which he loved to indulge, a top british bulldog who could drink with the best of them down at the pub or the local as it is known in britain. another churchill favored indulgence, cigars. he had three uses for cigars, the first was sheer pleasure, the involvement of the flavor of a good cigar and feeling of relaxation that such a smoke brings. the second was as a trademark. churchill was too shrewd a politician not to realize his cigar had become an iconic symbol in the face of adversity just as fdr jaundice cigarette holder, the american president's symbol. during a devastated area of london, cigar clenched between
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his teeth or in his hand as he waved at the crowd somehow showed that both he and britain were indomitable. the third use was to extend the length of dinners in which he planned to sell his policy and learn from statesman, scientists, soldiers, friends and opponents. after dinner like a good long cigar and pass around others. and a recount a number of hours of talk at a time when others were exhausted but he was at his best, this was not always appreciated by the war-weary admirals and generals that were often included on his guest list but all in all it was the part of dinner with churchill most guests treasured and remembered and wrote about. a wonderful story about cigars and churchill's personal security but too long to go into tonight. i do hope you will read it. a word about rationing. during the war years food and
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other commodities were strictly rationed in britain. how did churchill manage? first of all he played by the rules of his own government. each dinner at checkers the prime minister's country house or at downing street he requested extra rations. and what was required for every dinner, staff needed extra rations so the prime minister could get a suit for his trip to casablanca to meet with president roosevelt. any unused coupons were returned to the government. to british people 7 rationing and churchill wanted them to see that he too was subject to the law but churchill did benefit from gifts, from fans around the world and at home. some british people at home grown food to share with their prime minister. the king sent game from his land. others send fish from their streams, she's made on their farms.
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president roosevelt sent food parcels. a case of plum brandy, tangerines came from lisbon and smithfield hams from an american and buyer and thousands of cigars from all over the world. churchill worried about the effect of rationing on the people's energy levels, diet, more routes, spirit, worried about everything, no detail was too trivial. for example he worried british bees would not get enough sugar to get through the winter, sugar was then rationed. when he was asked by staff what they should do about providing fish he declared his policy to be, quote, but most fish. worried the supply of salt and vinegar remain stable important for chips for french fries as we call them, i do hope you will read my book, it is full of photos with new information about the wit and wisdom of winston churchill.
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there is a very funny story in there about plumber's which is too complicated to tell you about here. i hope i bring to light the two sides of this great man, the effort he put into getting adopted and policies to be in his country's interests and the human side of churchill, huge enjoyment of life, his exuberance and charm, his energy and capacity for work, his kindness and humor, his courtesy to his guests and his generosity with his friends. he was promised, quote, i hope i shall always be able to provide a bottle of champagne and another one for my friend. to quote a famous historian, churchill was quite simply a great man. thank you. [applause] >> thank you so much. i mentioned to everyone that in
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order to present your question on c-span, please wait until you are recognized and someone will come to you. okay. >> any questions? comments? >> okay. thank you so much. welcome to arizona. you made a reference to the second front that stalin wanted in europe in the west end as i understand it in 42 americans and british opens up the front of africa and push germans out of north africana and then began an invasion of sicily and was stalin referring to an invasion of the north of france when he said a second front? was there may be intense dinner
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conversation on this topic where they really -- >> churchill and roosevelt and their generals and combined staff knew there would not be a second front in europe in 42 and that is what they had to go and sell to stalin. the first night of that meeting stalin was very unhappy in the meeting and dinner ended on a sour note. second night was official banquets. the third night that i referred to when churchill said we agreed there cannot be one. stalin had to agree there would not be one. >> the italian invasion was 43? >> yes. >> even on wikipedia, there was a mention about your book and a the fact that churchill had actually moved into the white house for three weeks and i
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found that unbelievable. that must have been a fun time, but you said when you were talking that there were two dinners at two events and one of them involved the white house 1941 and you said you would come back to that. >> the one you were referring to, great personal danger to ok ship to washington, landed in washington three four days before christmas and moved into the white house and state for three weeks, gave a speech in canada and a few days in florida. he lived in the white house in the lincoln bedroom and mrs. roosevelt was not thrilled with this arrangement. she said as she put it winston cup franklin too late but winston kept everybody up late,
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not just the president. there are some wonderful stories in the book about what people thought of that and the stories are very funny. >> i think it is fascinating that he was able to leave england. in today's world of president obama goes to hawaii for four five days everybody goes crazy. >> churchill took his staff with him. when president obama goes there is no danger in the way there was danger in december of 41. >> just a comment. i was reading it and getting upset about how much they were eating and he had access to but you end the book with the rationing so it redeemed him. i was glad you put that there by
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which was earlier sudden get upset all the time. that was good. >> it was an important chapter. showed a part of churchill's character that was very important. many other people have in common. any other questions? >> churchill was known for being a poor money manager. all of the menuses and and food that he bought a, did you find bills that he paid for everything? he was famous for not paying for food and various other things in his life. >> i don't know about soups but most of the bills that i have seen and i have seen many of them are stamped paid. for instance all of the important in is that he had for his son's 20 first birthday, they were paid.
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i am not clear, interesting question. i am not clear where the dinner was when the bill was paid so you bring up an interesting point but there all stamped paid. all the bills are paid, not just a few of them. there are many, hundreds of them. everything you say that the archives. don't know about the foods. >> was there any risk between roosevelt and churchill when they picked on eisenhower in europe? >> by that time churchill knew what had been equal allies was no longer true and the americans were really should have eisenhower as the leader. by that time it was clear the americans, more production and the number of army people had to
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the eisenhower and not a british general.
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